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Boston city councilors file ordinance to require council or mayoral approval for flags

An LGBTQ+ Pride flag waved in the wind above City Hall Plaza next to an American flag and a Massachusetts state flag.City of Boston

Three Boston city councilors have filed an ordinance that would require a mayoral proclamation or City Council resolution to fly a flag on City Hall Plaza, officials said Tuesday, one day before the city is scheduled to raise a flag bearing a Christian cross after losing a case before the US Supreme Court.

The ordinance, which has the support of Mayor Michelle Wu, is intended to enable the city to celebrate flag raisings supported by city officials while bringing Boston into compliance with the high court’s unanimous decision in early May that officials had violated the First Amendment rights of a Christian group by refusing to fly a flag bearing a cross in 2017, according to a statement from Wu’s office.


The city is slated to raise a Christian flag outside City Hall on Wednesday.

Wu said she is “grateful for the partnership of the Boston City Council in ensuring future flag raisings comply with the Supreme Court’s decision while empowering us to resume the celebrations of our City’s cultures and communities.”

“I’m glad we have a clear way to resolve these legal issues and bring back the beloved traditions we’ve been missing during these proceedings,” Wu said in the statement.

The proposal was filed by City Council President Ed Flynn and councilors Kenzie Bok and Ruthzee Louijeune.

Louijeune said Boston is “a rich city of diverse people and ethnic backgrounds that we want to celebrate while we are doing the work to uplift communities.”

“This flag-raising ordinance clarifies and codifies the process for flag-raisings and the messages that we as a city want to convey each time a ceremonial flag is raised,” Louijeune said in the statement.

Flynn said the flags flown outside City Hall “should reflect and celebrate our City’s values, and this ordinance lays out a formal process that will allow us to do that.”


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him @jeremycfox.